Project description:Nitrogen (N) fertilization affects bioenergy crop growth and productivity and consequently carbon (C) and N contents in soil, it however remains unclear whether N fertilization and crop type individually or interactively influence soil organic carbon (SOC) and total N (TN). In a three-year long fertilization experiment in switchgrass (SG: Panicum virgatum L.) and gamagrass (GG: Tripsacum dactyloides L.) croplands in Middle Tennessee USA, soil samples (0-15cm) were collected in plots with no N input (NN), low N input (LN: 84 kg N ha-1 yr-1 in urea) and high N input (HN: 168 kg N ha-1 yr-1 in urea). Besides SOC and TN, the aboveground plant biomass was also quantified. In addition to a summary of published root morphology data based on a separated mesocosm experiment, the root leachable dissolved organic matter (DOM) of both crops was also measured using archived samples. Results showed no significant interaction of N fertilization and crop type on SOC, TN or plant aboveground biomass (ABG). Relative to NN, HN (not LN) significantly increased SOC and TN in both crops. Though SG showed a 15-68% significantly higher ABG than GG, GG showed a 9.3-12% significantly higher SOC and TN than SG. The positive linear relationships of SOC or TN with ABG were identified for SG. However, GG showed structurally more complex and less readily decomposed root DOM, a larger root volume, total root length and surface area than SG. Collectively, these suggested that intensive N fertilization could increase C and N stocks in bioenergy cropland soils but these effects may be more likely mediated by the aboveground biomass in SG and root chemistry and morphology in GG. Future studies are expected to examine the root characteristics in different bioenergy croplands under the field fertilization experiment.
Project description:Apoptosis is thought to contribute to the progression of periodontitis. It has been suggested that the apoptosis of epithelial cells may contribute to the loss of epithelial barrier function. Smad2, a downstream signaling molecule of TGF-? receptors (TGF-?Rs), is critically involved in apoptosis in several cell types. However, the relationship between smad2 and bacteria-induced apoptosis has not yet been elucidated. It is possible that the regulation of apoptosis induced by periodontopathic bacteria may lead to novel preventive therapies for periodontitis. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated the involvement of smad2 phosphorylation in apoptosis of human gingival epithelial cells induced by Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa). Aa apparently induced the phosphorylation of smad2 in primary human gingival epithelial cells (HGECs) or the human gingival epithelial cell line, OBA9 cells. In addition, Aa induced phosphorylation of the serine residue of the TGF-? type I receptor (TGF-?RI) in OBA9 cells. SB431542 (a TGF-?RI inhibitor) and siRNA transfection for TGF-?RI, which reduced both TGF-?RI mRNA and protein levels, markedly attenuated the Aa-induced phosphorylation of smad2. Furthermore, the disruption of TGF-?RI signaling cascade by SB431542 and siRNA transfection for TGF-?RI abrogated the activation of cleaved caspase-3 expression and repressed apoptosis in OBA9 cells treated with Aa. Thus, Aa induced apoptosis in gingival epithelial cells by activating the TGF-?RI-smad2-caspase-3 signaling pathway. The results of the present study may suggest that the periodontopathic bacteria, Aa, activates the TGF-?R/smad2 signaling pathway in human gingival epithelial cells and induces apoptosis in epithelial cells, which may lead to new therapeutic strategies that modulate the initiation of periodontitis.
Project description:The opportunistic pathogen A. actinomycetemcomitans (Aa) expereinces fluctuating oxygen levels in its natural habitat, the gingival crevice of the human oral cavity. Since oxygen influences metabolic interactions between Aa and other oral microbes, we sought to characterize oxygen-dependent Aa gene expression.
Project description:Nitrogen (N) fertilizers can potentially alter spatial distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) concentrations in croplands such as switchgrass (SG: Panicum virgatum L.) and gamagrass (GG: Tripsacum dactyloides L.), but it remains unclear whether these effects are the same between crops and under different rates of fertilization. 13C and 15N are two important proxy measures of soil biogeochemistry, but they were rarely examined as to their spatial distributions in soil. Based on a three-year long fertilization experiment in Middle Tennessee, USA, the top mineral horizon soils (0-15?cm) were collected using a spatially explicit design within two 15-m2 plots under three fertilization treatments in SG and GG croplands. A total of 288 samples were collected based on 12 plots and 24 samples in each plot. The fertilization treatments were no N input (NN), low N input (LN: 84?kg?N ha-1 in urea) and high N input (HN: 168?kg?N ha-1 in urea). The SOC, TN, SOC/TN (C: N), ?13C and ?15N were quantified and their within-plot variations and spatial distributions were achieved via descriptive and geostatistical methods. Results showed that SG generally displayed 10~120% higher plot-level variations in all variables than GG, and the plot-level variations were 20~77% higher in NN plots than LN and HN plots in SG but they were comparable in unfertilized and fertilized plots in GG. Relative to NN, LN and HN showed more significant surface trends and spatial structures in SOC and TN in both croplands, and the fertilization effect appeared more pronounced in SG. Spatial patterns in C: N, ?13C and ?15N were comparable among different fertilization treatments in both croplands. The descending within-plot variations were also identified among variables (SOC?>?TN?>??15N?>?C: N?>??13C). This study demonstrated that N fertilizations generally reduced the plot-level variance and simultaneously re-established spatial structures of SOC and TN in bioenergy croplands, which little varied with fertilization rate but was more responsive in switchgrass cropland.
Project description:A pH-sensitive ciprofloxacin prodrug was synthesized and targeted against biofilms of the periodontal pathogen Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa). The dose required to reduce the viability of a mature biofilm of Aa by ~80% was in the range of ng?cm(-2) of colonized area (mean biofilm density 2.33?×?10(9)?cells?cm(-2)). A mathematical model was formulated that predicts the temporal change in the concentration of ciprofloxacin in the Aa biofilm as the drug is released and diffuses into the bulk medium. The predictions of the model were consistent with the extent of killing obtained. The results demonstrate the feasibility of the strategy to induce mortality, and together with the mathematical model, provide the basis for design of targeted antimicrobial prodrugs for the topical treatment of oral infections such as periodontitis. The targeted prodrug approach offers the possibility of optimizing the dose of available antimicrobials in order to kill a chosen pathogen while leaving the commensal microbiota relatively undisturbed.